lauren ASH's story
Lauren Ash is a wellness visionary, yoga and meditation guide, engaging speaker and creative writer, and founder and executive director of the culture-shifting lifestyle brand synonymous with black women’s wellness—Black Girl In Om.
Lauren Ash is a wellness visionary, yoga and meditation guide, sought-after speaker and writer, and Founder and Executive Director of the culture-shifting lifestyle brand synonymous with black women’s wellness—Black Girl In Om.
Lauren’s contributions to the world ultimately reflect what she once needed and didn’t see. From her cultivation of self-care sessions to the Black Girl In Om Podcast—which has already reached more than one million listeners—her leadership in creating and cultivating meaningful experiences and content for a hugely marginalized community illuminate the compassion, care, and belonging that she affirms all black women are deserving of. Her work is resonating with everyone—she is named “a leading voice in the healthy-living world” by Well+Good, declared “one of the most important voices in the wellness industry” by Shape, and one of Wanderlust’s “35 under 35 in Wellness to Watch”.
The journey that has led to this place is one rooted in community, care, divine timing, manifestation, and a purpose-driven life. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, Lauren didn’t see herself reflected in her predominantly white community outside of her home, family, and church on Sunday. Lauren’s family, however, helped her channel her creative gifts and energy in meaningful ways and, throughout her childhood and into high school, Lauren’s engagements and early leadership hinted at her lifelong dedication to community, and using her voice for much-needed social change.
During her time as a college student at the University of St. Thomas in 2007, a series of racially-motivated hate crimes inspired a deeper racial consciousness and Lauren’s convictions for healing, connection, and the collective grew as a result. Lauren began to create and cultivate safe spaces for people of color and served as a mentor for incoming students of color, with a natural proclivity for mentoring black women. Curious about racism, groupthink, and prejudice, Lauren even shifted her academic focus from literature to psychology, and as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Lauren completed a research project on the experiences of black students at predominantly white institutions. In 2010, Lauren graduated with a BA in Psychology with minors in Spanish and English and a world of experience.
After graduation, Lauren transitioned into a master’s program in American Studies at Purdue University where she enthusiastically dove into black feminist literature, practice, and thought. As she began reimagining the world through the lens of her foremothers and contemporary radical womanist visionaries, she also began to consider the ways she would step into and add to their contributions. Lauren loved her studies, yet the stresses of graduate school, and the embodied tension she began to notice throughout her body, nudged her to visit her local yoga studio. Lauren soon fell in love with yoga and began to dedicate herself to more than just the asana practice. She graduated with her master’s degree in 2012, and moved back to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where she spent one year in roles at The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation and Penumbra Theatre serving young people in color and empowering them to use their voices for social justice, equity, and change.
In 2013, Lauren serendipitously moved to Chicago where she eventually enrolled in yoga teacher training after feeling disillusioned with her job. Within the first week of her training, during a yoga practice, the phrase “Black Girl In Om” arrived to her and it was at that time that she began manifesting. She was gifted for a reason much bigger than she originally knew, and the seeds for Black Girl In Om as we know it today began to deepen within her. Lauren officially launched Black Girl In Om in the Fall of 2014 with a series of yoga and conversation centered gatherings for people of color. Her team grew, as did Black Girl In Om’s online presence and event series, and the online publication launched in the spring of 2015 in response to the engagement. The Black Girl In Om podcast arrived in 2016 and quickly garnered an eager and active listenership.
Since founding the leading platform for women of color on their wellness journeys in 2014, Lauren has repeatedly been recognized as a trailblazer in the contemporary wellness movement. Her tremendous influence on modern believes about mindful living, beauty, and well-being have garnered her partnerships with brands such as Adidas, Bon Appetit, Glossier, Nike, OWN, Target, Samsung and SXSW. Girlboss, Glamour, mindbodygreen, Teen Vogue, Thoughtfully Magazine, and Well+Good, are a short list of other wellness and lifestyle brands and publications Lauren has contributed to. Catch her cover story at CRWN Magazine and past features in ELLE, Essence, Forbes, Saint Heron, and Yahoo Beauty.
Carrying a 200-hour power yoga training and a 200-hour vinyasa yoga training, Lauren centers deeper breath-body-mind awareness as well as community, self-acceptance, and radical self-love as a yoga guide. She has toured the nation sharing her Self-care and Yoga for Women of Color and rebirth workshops reaching over thousands of people since 2014 with her good vibes and inclusivity.
A natural teacher, Lauren shares her story and wellness expertise to inspire. From keynote talks at the University of Missouri and moderated panel conversations at SXSW to engaging self-care talks at Nike Chicago and expert speakeasys at Wanderlust, 2018 alone had Lauren motivating people from all backgrounds to reflect on their own narratives and get excited about the possibilities of designing their lives and careers on their own terms. So much more to come in 2019!
Outside of her work with Black Girl In Om, Lauren serves on the Samsung and Popsugar Board of Advisors and enjoys curating ongoing experiences and content with Squarespace. When she’s not busy creating change, she’s practicing her headstand, making a high-vibrational playlist, or soaking up the sun in tropical climates.
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